Saalbach and Hinterglemm, Austria

Saalbach apres ski,  Hinterglemm apres ski, AustriaAprès-Ski / Nightlife

Saalbach-Hinterglemm’s reputation for great nightlife has more to do with the atmosphere and attitude of the area than the number of discos (officially only five). Along with the wild-and-crazy Austrians you’re bound to meet, there’s also a healthy contingent of Scandinavians (especially Swedes) and British.

The Arena disco in the Alpenhotel is the upscale nightspot. The action inside doesn’t start un-til after 11 p.m. Expect to pay a cover (it varies de-pending on the entertainment) and about €8 for a mixed drink. There are two bars, a live band and plenty of overstuffed couches and tucked-away alcoves for a break from the dancing.

The disco in the Sporthotel, just up the main street from the centrally located Alpenhotel, is where the young and adventurous let their collective hair down. There’s a circular balcony that overlooks the dance floor, and you need only pick out the partner of your choice from this vantage point and then leap merrily into the crowded fray.

Cross the stream just off the main street and walk uphill to the Backstatt Stall. The up-stairs disco is on two levels, with another balcony for scoping the dance action. The atmosphere is a little more woodsy and mellower than the spots mentioned above, and it’s easier to find room on the dance floor.

Après-ski has to be wit-nessed to be understood. Where else, except inside the Bauers Schi-Alm at the bottom of the Turm T-bar (across from the old church), can you see Austrians dancing the can-can to “New York, New York,” stacked three on top of one an-other and swaying like demented totem poles? The bedlam at the Hinterhagalm tea bar just up the slope is a ri-val for honors as Après-Ski Madhouse of the Mountain.

The new Harley Davidson and Bikers’ Pub, in the basement of the Hotel Zur Dorfschmiede, features a shiny selection of fullsize Harleys and motorcycle memorabilia, lots of leather and studs, and an owner who dishes “hog” talk with the best of them. Hokey, but a lot of fun.

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